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  1. #1
    wotcha's Avatar
    wotcha is offline Senior Member
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    Default I was passed the salt by him.

    I teach Passive Voice nowadays and have some questions about the possibility

    of passive voices of certain verbs such as pass, read, write, send, bring and ets.

    - Oh yes, every grammar book has different rules and again, I trust you usingenglish

    teachers.



    Please check the below sentences if they are grammatical or not.

    1. He passed me the salt -> I was passed the salt by him.

    2. I read her a book -> She was read a book by me.

    3. I brought Tom some water. -> Tom was brought some water by me.

    4. She wrote me a letter. -> I was written a letter by her.

    5. My mom sent me an email -> I was sent an email by my mom.



    Cheers!
    Last edited by wotcha; 12-Oct-2012 at 13:54.

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    I hope you (and your students) are aware that this kind of passive sentence is rarely used in real life, sounds completely unnatural, and only exists as an exercise to torment students with when they'd be better off learning something more useful.

    1, 2 and 3 are correct. 4 is wrong and 5 is questionable.

    You could amend your title.

    Now I've spent enough time on this already.

    Rover

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    #1 should be "he passed me the salt."

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    These excercises are SO pointless, as Rover said.
    However, the direct object should be the subject of the sentence in the passive. A book was read to them. An email was sent to me. Generally, don't include the agent if it's a pronoun, so no "by me" or "by her."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    wotcha's Avatar
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    I always appreciate your advice Barb.

    The reason I post this question is that some of grammar books say

    it is ungrammatical to make a passive sentence transforming an indirect object into a subject,

    That is, you can't say "I was passed the salt" or "I was read a book".

    And I've always been doubt about it.


    Now I have a confidence to say to my students that you can say

    "I was passed the salt" or "I was read the book"

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    The salt, the book, and the e-mail are the direct objects, while "me" "her" "Tom" and "me" are the indirect objects.

    "Pure" passive transformation would have salt, book, water, letter, and e-mail as the subjects.

    You should NOT have the confidence to say "I was read the book" is an appropriate trasnformation to the passive.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: I was passed a salt by him.

    Quote Originally Posted by wotcha View Post
    The reason I post this question is that some of grammar books say

    it is ungrammatical to make a passive sentence transforming an indirect object into a subject,
    You can make the indirect object into the subject. Your I was written example doesn't work very well, but you could say I was sent a letter.


    Quote Originally Posted by wotcha View Post
    "I was passed the salt"
    This is a possible sentence, but is it a very likely sentence? The problem with focusing on passive conversions is that it doesn't place much emphasis on the reasons for using the passive and suggests that it is little more than an alternative way of saying something.

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